And the kids did too, so that's all right.
I'm remarkably proud of myself for limiting new textbooks to just four, three of which are slim little tomes picked out by the target audience. The last is a how-to-teach-your-kid-to-read book that I'm hoping my nearly-five-year-old will humor me about.
Vendor halls are tricky places, mainly because their very existence will dredge out the second-guessing and worrying that normally lives stuffed under a mental waste-paper-basket with a very large and heavy brick making sure escape doesn't happen often. It usually happens in vendor halls. How am I ever going to exist without xyz gadget? How will my precious bundles ever figure out science without this latest doohickie? Goodness knows they're going to turn into cretins if I don't get that doubles-as-a-doorstop math text. And while I don't know what use we have for beakers in this house, it's hard to say no to those big, begging eyes my son developed. Being the next thing to paupery is usually what saves the household from finding yet more shelf-space.
This Expo was more about reassuring the Banshees that I wasn't going to drag home just anything a salesperson waved under my nose. It took two circuits of the hall before I got through to them that just because I thought it was interesting didn't mean I was going to foist it off on them. My efforts at conversation, God Save the Mark, were all about finding out what the Banshees were interested in. This was followed by an impromptu lesson on the art of negotiating with Mom. Nobody is rioting quite yet over the choices, although there were a few skirmishes over the origami book.
Most of the Expo I spent spinning, or knitting, or fishing various Banshees out of nooks and crannies and inquiring as to whether they were having a good time. I didn't attend a single session although I had meant to. I'm learning, however, that going to sessions and looking out for three wiggly children are a bit incompatible, even for such family friendly places as a homeschooling conference. The debate is not whether I'm going to the next one, it's whether we are going to the next one. I may decide to treat it as a mini-vacation for a mom who desperately needs one.
The other fun part of Expo was my first experience with feeding children out of a cooler for three days. It went remarkably well, nobody died of food poisoning, and I got to play with my new obsession over Bento lunches. Most of the time the Banshees think I'm dotty if well-intentioned but they really like the new hobby. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, they also picked up my prediliction for the pretty little boxes. I outgrew that when I accidentally found Lock & Lock boxes; those unpretentious little bits of plastic are now my Bento box of choice. The Banshees think that this is all well and good, but prefer the cute little boxes that are either hideously overpriced on Ebay or sold in local markets that have no online presence and therefor are generally invisible to me.
I can't really explain the new obsession. Part of it is my...er, shall we call it persistance?...when confronted with something that I think I ought to have access to but don't (call it the whaddaya mean I have to pay $40 for a $1.50 piece of plastic?!? syndrome). Part of it is also the weight I gained over multiple pregnancies that has been notoriously hard to shed. Some of it is about having to cook everything from scratch because it's 1. cheaper and 2. healthier. A lot of it has to do with a recent medical diagnosis (nothing life-threatening, just altogether prosaic and boring) which is greatly influenced by diet. So, for the first time in my life, I really have to think about what I'm putting on my plate. Bento is all about balance, proportion, and beauty. If I have to play with my food, I ought to have pretty stuff to play with, right? Like every other interest under the sun, there is an online community that supports those of us who find ourselves wondering how to parse up the rice and properly present the broccoli. It's turning out to be the best cook-book experience ever. I'm sure if I really want to lose weight I'm going to have to dust off the clothes-hanger (also known as the treadmill) and go a few rounds, but eating better is a good start. And the Banshees are going to learn something about diet, not to mention the genetic component behind...er, persistance.